Under current law, there is a cap on the number of H-1B visas that the U.S. government will issue, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stops accepting applications as soon as the cap is met. The demand for these visas is so high that the cap has been met on the first day that these visa applications are accepted for the year. As a result, businesses may need to look at alternatives to the H-1B visa.
One alternative is to hire individuals who already are in the U.S. on H-1B visas. These individuals are exempt from the cap and begin working for a new employer as soon the employer files the application with USCIS. Additionally, even after the H-1B visa is met, employers may file petitions for foreign nationals who are outside of the U.S. if they have held H-1B status within the last six years (and thus already counted against the HB-1 cap) and were not in the U.S. for the entire six-year period.
Additionally, some employers are not subject to the H-1B visa cap. H-1B sponsors that are non-profit or government research organizations, institutions of higher education, or non-profits affiliated with an institution of higher education all are exempt from the H-1B visa cap.
There also are other visa categories into which an employee might fit. For instance, the R-1 visa is for religious workers, the P-1 visa is for internationally recognized athletes and entertainers, the I visa is for journalists, and the O-1 visa is for “persons of extraordinary remedies.” While these visa categories encompass substantially narrower groups of employees than the H-1B visa, they may be viable alternatives in some situations.
The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking a visa for you, a family member, or potential employee to enter the U.S. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your situation. It is our intention to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you with your legal immigration matter.